Georgia’s coaching staff have been recruiting like mad in recent years, and their prominence at one Cobb County recruiting hotbed could be increasing as a result.
The big news on the fourth and final day of the 7-on-7 high school tournament in Sanford Stadium was the commitment of 2017 4* quarterback Bailey Hockman (Powder Springs, GA/McEachern). Hockman isn’t the first McEachern player to commit to Georgia in 2015—his commitment follows that of 2016 5* defensive tackle Julian Rochester, a heavily sought-after recruit who was once thought to be a lock to Auburn.
Rochester and the left-handed gunslinger Hockman, ranked the #2 quarterback in the nation for the class of 2017, could be two of many McEachern stars to enroll at the University of Georgia in the approaching years, something the Bulldogs aren’t used to.
McEachern has a long-established tradition of dominance in Georgia high school football. Their roster is consistently loaded with three-, four-, and five-star talent much like Hockman and Rochester. However, Georgia has a history of failing to secure players from the perennially successful program.
The Bulldogs have missed out on multiple highly-regarded McEachern Indians, losing them to the likes of conference opponents South Carolina, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt and Auburn, and to out-of-conference programs such as Southern Cal, Oregon, Clemson, and in-state rival Georgia Tech. In fact, no former McEachern standout has appeared on Georgia’s roster since head coach Mark Richt’s tenure began in 2001. But with a new focus on locking down in-state talent, the Dawgs find themselves networking the Powder Springs powerhouse program.
Julian Rochester’s commitment late last month was the first domino to fall. Considering Rochester is one of the most popular kids on the recruiting circuit, it was only a matter of time before he convinced another to commit to Georgia. Rochester’s influence is key for the class of 2016, and is paralleled only by Hockman’s influence on Georgia’s 2017 targets.
It’s worth noting that Bailey Hockman’s father, Kyle, is the head coach at McEachern. Should the 4* QB follow through on his commitment and enroll at UGA, Coach Kyle Hockman will be instrumental in getting McEachern’s top talent to open their minds to the Georgia Bulldogs early in their playing careers.
The Hockman family’s influence at McEachern doesn’t end there. Class of 2016 4* WR Tyler Simmons, another teammate of Rochester’s and Hockman’s, has stated he would consider committing to Georgia should Hockman commit. Simmons isn’t the only 4* receiver with Bailey Hockman in his ear; 2017 4* receivers Tyler Smith (McEachern) and Trey Blount (Powder Springs, GA/Hillgrove) have also expressed interest in teaming up with Hockman at the next level. All three hold offers from Georgia, and now it seems Georgia is the team to beat for each player.
With each player’s signing day so far away, nothing is certain until they have signed. But with increased emphasis on keeping the best Georgia players in-state, a hold on Rochester and Hockman could prove huge for the Dawgs in the not-so-distant future.